unplugging from the matrix

By leo.flor, May 9, 2014 17:10

I decided to take a break from living inside my computer for the last few months since my family has been travelling.  I spent time on a couple of small web projects and proposals but I haven’t posted anything on my blogs or looked at social media very much.  Instead I made a conscious effort to stay in the real world: travelling, working on personal projects like cleaning out my storage locker and other tasks for the house.  I’ve been hanging out with my curious toddler son; it’s amazing seeing the world through his eyes.

Being online is very useful for finding connections and staying connected but I find it less personable and difficult to get depth.  One of my primary reasons for travel is to spend real time with those I love, family and friends in far off places.  Experiencing new destinations with friends and family, is probably my favourite thing to do.  My family makes it a priority to connect “live” as much as possible even though we live great distances apart.

I think of travelling as one of the most evolved things humans can do.  Our ancestors would have to spend their whole lives to go somewhere that is a 5 hour flight.  And it’s not just the traversal of your physical body and consciousness over a great distance that’s amazing; it’s all of the differences you can encounter: cultural, climate, biodiversity.  So much potential to learn something new.  I’ve been fortunate to have been able to travel to many places and I’ve learned so much through those experiences.  Something I hope everyone gets to try.

blog hiatus

By leo.flor, January 24, 2014 16:08

Anyone who follows this blog will notice that I haven’t published in ages.  I still write but can’t find the time to edit and polish posts, I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist however I can’t bring myself arbitrarily post my thoughts without thinking about presentation.

As most parents would attest to, it’s difficult to find time for yourself and I need the time I would put to editing and publishing a blog for higher priority things like work, sleep, yoga, etc.  Now that I am between contracts I’ve decided to try to jump back into it during my son’s naps.  Also we are planning some traveling which could make for more interesting blogs (and Facebook) posts.  ;)

I find it difficult just to sit back and chill and not think about tearing through a huge to-do list (I am so Type-A) however I am really enjoying this time I’m spending as a stay-at-home-dad.  This is really one of the most rewarding jobs a person can do and I’m feeling grateful for the opportunity.  It’s challenging, I have almost no experience and it is definitely a learning experience for both of us.  My son’s antics are quite entertaining and hilarious and it’s a tremendous feeling watching him figure out something I’m teaching him.  It’s similar to the pride I feel when I see someone I taught to snowboard make turns, multiplied by 100.

It’s unfortunate that there is just no time for origami as I have a number of ideas for pieces I want to make.  They will just have to wait.

Travel Roller

By leo.flor, April 12, 2013 17:42
Travel RollerKnowing my obsession with foam rolling and yoga, my sister bought me what I now consider the greatest gift ever, the Travel Roller.  The highlights:
  • Hard plastic roller
  • Three varying tension balls
  • Compact design and easy to travel with (get your roll on anywhere)
  • Made from earth friendly materials, TPE Foam
  • Includes an instructional DVD from the creators who are both Kinesiology grads.
Admittedly I didn’t watch the videos until after I had been using it for weeks.  No one knows my body better than I do and I enjoy trying to figure things out on my own at times.  Rolling on top of the tennis ball sized tension balls provides localized pressure that I found really effective for targeting pain spots.

The North Face Etip Glove

By leo.flor, March 22, 2013 18:21
Got my hands on another glove that was specifically built for using touchscreen devices: the North Face Etip Glove.  I had high hopes for these gloves as my previous endeavor into this realm, the Burton Touchscreen Liner was rather disappointing.

The verdict?  These gloves are much better than those Burton ones but still leave much to be desired.  The touchscreen pads work quite well; this time the downfall lies with the fact that the gloves don’t keep your hands warm (a glove’s primary function).  Even in temperatures close to the freezing mark, I found my hands cold.
Three other comments as stated in my previous post:
  • the palm and other fingers should have “stickier” padding;
  • the touchscreen element should wrap around the index finger and thumb so that you can use the sides of these digits;
  • the glove should expand to the size of the users hand to ensure a tighter fit.

TRENDnet Wireless N Day/Night Internet Camera

By leo.flor, February 23, 2013 12:52

Rather than buying a baby monitor, I decided to set up a webcam instead.  So I picked up an inexpensive one from www.newegg.ca, the Trendnet TV-IP121WN Internet Camera.  The advantages are three-fold:

  • There are numerous apps (some free) that view the camera from an array of different platforms (iOS, Android, PC).  On the iPad at home I use SecurView and I can even look in when I’m out and about using my Google Nexus 4 using TinyCam Monitor Free.
  • Once I no longer need a baby monitor, it easily becomes a home security camera.
  • It’s a cheaper than most baby monitors.

The picture quality is not bad either and it’s a Day/Night cam so it works even when the room is dark.

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More info on the  TRENDnet TV-IP121WN 640 x 480 MAX Resolution RJ45 SecurView Wireless N Day/Night Internet Camera:

  • Very easy to set up.  If you know how to set up a router, you can set this camera up pretty easily.  Once it’s on your wireless network you can view the video on any number of devices.
  • It has other functionality such as motion-detection capture, it can even email you (I haven’t yet tested this).
  • Cons:  The main complaint with the camera, which I knew about prior to purchasing, is that the colour is a little off.  For some reason the video comes out with slight pinkish hues.

quick and dirty guide to newborns

By leo.flor, February 1, 2013 17:18

Definitely wouldn’t call myself an expert but my family has survived the first three months of our first child and I wanted to share a couple of things that helped me get through it.

1) The Five Ss:  (What is this?)

  • Swaddle – I do have some experience folding things.
  • Side/Stomach – I’d carry him like a football, in one arm or two arms; on his side or belly.
  • Shush – I’d make my own shhh sound or use a white noise maker (a friend got me sleep sheep).
  • Swing – I would rock the baby or dance with him; kinda like a waltz or something side-to-side.
  • Suck – Try a pacifier.

2) Baby Language:  A friend showed me the Dunstan Baby Language on Oprah (there was a YouTube video which has been taken down, you can check out her site or Wikipedia).
While I didn’t consistently hear these exact sounds from my son, it’s still a short checklist of possible issues he could be experiencing:

  • Neh – means: “I’m hungry”.  This sound I definitely heard.  Also based on last time he ate/how much you can get an idea if he’s hungry.
  • Eh – means: “I need a burp”.  There are different ways to burp a baby, when I’m having trouble, again I try dancing, this time salsa steps (or something back-and-forth or up-and-down).
  • Eairh – means: “I’m gassy/need to fart”.  For this I’d lay the little guy on his back and grab his legs by the calves, one in each hand and I’d alternate between making him do bicycle kicks and push both up to his chest.*
  • Owh – means: “I’m sleepy”.  Do pretty much whatever you can to try to get them to sleep (feed, slow rocking, white noise).
  • Heh – means: “I need a change.”  Try the smell test.  If still unsure, have a peek.

Hope this helps!

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* Update, we took the little big man to a baby massage class where we learned some belly massages that relieve gas.  Any interested readers should learn this from a licensed health professional.  (The class instructor was Margaret Wallis-Duffy RMT, who was Jedi-like with her baby whisperer skills.)

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